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London Assembly examines City Hall budget

The Committee will look at whether the budget allows Boris Johnson to meet his Mayoral targets. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The London Assembly will examine the City Hall budget today.

The Committee will focus on how decisions are made on possible future investment and which ones are likely to make the cut in the final 2014/15 budget.

Committee Members will also focus on how the spending plans will affect key Mayoral targets to boost growth and create 200,000 new jobs.

Could more be done to help London's homeless?

A homeless person pictured near Westminster Cathedral Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Assembly's Housing Committee will meet later to discuss whether more could be done to help those sleeping rough on London's streets.

The Committee will ask housing experts whether existing schemes are doing enough for those who regularly return to sleep rough, despite initially receiving help.

There are concerns that the No Second Night Out scheme, which aims to ensure no one arriving on the streets will spend a second night there, and the 205 project, which targets London's most entrenched rough sleepers, could be missing opportunities to help those who fit neither category.


Transport for London summoned to City Hall

Transport for London and union representatives will appear at City Hall today to explain how they'll find 12 billion pounds of savings before 2018.

The Transport Committee also aims to find out whether rumours of ticket office closures and staff cuts are true.

Credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire

It will also discuss how Transport for London will handle a major cut to its government grant.

Following the Government's Spending Review, there are plans to reduce TfL's budget by a quarter - £207 million - by 2016.

Olympic Park developers to be quizzed

The London Legacy Development Corporation will be questioned on its legacy objectives. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The London Legacy Development Corporation, the organisation responsible for developing the Olympic Park following the London 2012 Games, is to be questioned on its plans.

The London Assembly's Regeneration Committee will quiz guests from the LLDC on how Olympic and Paralympic legacy objectives can be met.

Questions are expected to centre around the benefits being brought to east London as well as housing and employment opportunities.

Calls for more low-income housing in London boroughs

The report from the London Assembly calls for councils to be allowed to build more housing. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A new report from the London Assembly is calling for measures, including lifting caps on council borrowing, to allow London councils the opportunity to build housing suitable for low-income families.

In the last decade councils have built less than 0.5% of new homes in England.

The report sets out strong recommendations to support London boroughs who want to increase their stock of council housing.


Technology changes 'long overdue'

The author of today's report into the Metropolitan Police's use of new technology said:

The Met has been paying over theodds for technology for years – much of which has gone on maintaining acollection of out-dated and increasingly inefficient systems put together overthe last 40 years. This has got to change.

“Every other person has asmartphone in their pocket and yet the Met are only just starting to look atrolling out similar tools. They should also be working on predictive crimemapping, like that used in Los Angeles, to get officers in the right place atthe right time to deter criminals and reassure the public."

– John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee

Met's key areas for improvement

A report from the London Assembly says the Metropolitan Police must use more new technology to help fight crime. It says this could save the force time and money. The report highlighted key areas to improve the force's use of technology:

  • Mobile technology: The report welcomes plans to introduce 20, 000 mobile devices to officers over the next year. It says if they're implemented properly, they could save time and paperwork by allowing officers to file reports on the go.
  • Predictive crime mapping: A computer programme that uses historic crime statistics and other facts - such as the weather - to predict the areas where crime is most likely to occur. A six month trial in Los Angeles showed crime rates decreased by 12% and vehicle crime by 25%.
  • Mobile technology: The Committee also calls for the force to do more to make the most of social media, like Twitter, which offer a cheap and effective platform to reach out to communities.

Met lags behind in new technologies

Metropolitan Police badge Credit: PA

Today's report into the use of technology in the Met compares the force to others across the world. It says not enough has been done to bring innew technologies – like predictive crime mapping, mobile handheld devices andsocial media – to make working practices more efficient and reduce crime.

Smart policing_, by the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee argues that, faced with a 20 per cent cut in spending over the next three years, the Met can no longer afford to spend 85% of its ICT budget on maintaining old technology, some of which dates back to the 1970s.

The force has a total of 750 separate systems, 70% are already redundant, rising to 90% by 2015.

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